Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Love this.....

Saw this on Breezyacres's Blog and I just loved it!

"Our ministry [as moms] is in continually learning to know and read our children correctly so we are able to address their heart issues. The heart is vastly more important than outward actions, but takes considerably more prayer, time and effort to see and address properly.
Our ministry is learning to take immense pleasure in being with our children, laughing, working, talking, praying, learning and playing--no matter how old or young they are.  Motherhood is time consuming; it takes vast effort, thought, care, creativity, and selflessness to be done well--but the blessings of fulfilling that high calling are worth every sacrifice." -Kari Lewis

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vent and Help?

I have been a bad blogger.  The hubs keeps graciously making room for pics on the computer but then we keep filling it up.  We need a new one definitely.  The one we want doesn't come until November.  I am going to have some major catching up to do, which seems to be how I roll these days. :)

I don't have any fun pics today but I do have something I want to get off my chest.  My heart is just aching right now.  My sweet Bella.  Bella just LOVES school.  And she LOVES people.  Before she even started school the hubs and I decided we would drive her to school.  We felt she could be well protected in school but on the bus supervision is so hard.  However when our two neighbor kids asked her to ride the bus with them, she of course wanted to go with them.  Things went great last year.  However this year, often in the morning, and sometimes on the way home, she ends up riding in a seat alone.  Of course this makes me SO sad for her but it doesn't seem to really bother her so I don't push it.  So this summer a new family moved in a couple doors down.  It is a single mother with 4 kids.  Man does my heart go out to her!

So last week Wed. I get a call that Bella is in the office with an upset stomach and is REALLY upset.  So I rush over there and I can tell she has been crying hard.  She's definitely bad when she doesn't feel good but the crying in front of the office staff and stuff was very unlike her.  I asked if everything was ok and she insisted she had a stomach ache because she ate too much junk and she needed to eat healthier. Ha!  So she was fine the remainder of the night and I sent her to school the next day.  Then early that morning I get an email from Bella's teacher saying that she started crying on the way to lunch.  She was saying her tummy hurt and she just wanted to be home with me.  Talk about heart wrenching!  I got 3 more emails from her teacher that day just updating me on how she was doing.  She cried all through lunch and wouldn't eat.  Her teacher later got her to eat during math and she had a good rest of the day.  That afternoon I got her off the bus and it was like nothing had happened???  I was so confused.  I started talking to her, asking her, trying to pull something out of her.  Although she still won't correlate the stomach ache with this incident, she did admit that our neighbor boy (the new family that moved in) on her bus is teasing her, calling her stupid, etc.  I was furious!!  Bella is sweet, sensitive, and just so....innocent.  Everything in my being wants take her away, protect her from everything hard.  But I know these experiences are what will make her stronger.  Its still just so tough to hear.  And then this week this neighbor boy's sister stole a toy from Bella and wouldn't give it back.  She is also having some seat issues, wanting to sit by a friend but two other girls like to also so she ends up by herself.  Sigh.

I talked with her that night and she started getting super upset about it.  I'm struggling with wanting her to share with us, get it out, and help her solve them, but talking about it also draws more attention to the situation and seems to agitate her more.  I'm just at a lost of what to do.

Any time I start to talk about it my eyes fill with tears.  Its just killing me to see her go through this, wanting to help, but not being sure what it best.  In all this I am SO thankful at how AMAZING her teacher and the lunch room lady have been.  Her bus driver did say she was going to make the two boys causing issues sit in a seat up by her but who knows. (Update: Bella did inform me today the problem kids are in a seat up by the driver)  I am very close to just driving her, unfortunately I can't in the afternoon since Brooklyn is napping.  Sigh.

Any wise counsel on this situation?

Kelly Stamps from Kelly's Korner shared this a while back and it was super hard to hear but I know its a great lesson and definitely one I'm asking God to help me with!

When I was pregnant with both girls there were two prayers I would continuously pray: "Lord, give her a PASSION for you. Let her chase after you her whole life" and "Lord keep her safe and healthy".   Every single day without fail I pray these two prayers over my girls.

Right away God answered one of those prayers a little differently than I would have imagined for Harper.  I never dreamed she would be born sick and that we would nearly lose her.  And yet through that hard period - I drew closer to God. I saw Him move in ways I had never known before. I saw Him work and still continue to see Him get glory from her story.  Through the ashes of a hard time - He has given me so much beauty and opened so many doors to share my faith than I ever could have dreamed.

I am learning that praying for "health and safety" and praying for "a closeness to God" may not necessary go hand in hand.  God has been teaching me this over and over in the last few weeks.

A few weeks ago when I invited my friends over to pray for our families, I shared how I had a lot of anxiety for my children and I just prayed constantly that God would protect them.  When the time came around for my wise friend Bethany to share........she spoke something that has been circling in my head on constant re-play every day since.  She said that she used to be the same way and one day God changed her prayers and she began to pray that He would just make them like Him.  And if that meant her boys had to go through struggles or hard things in order to be closer to God - than she wouldn't want to pray for protection from that.

That hit me like a ton of bricks.  I know without a doubt that it's the hard things in my life that have always made me seek Him. It's the tough times when I had no one else to turn to that I learned to trust in God.  I want my girls to have a "perfect" tear free, pain free life........but that might be a life where they don't need to depend on God.  And that's the polar opposite of the one thing I truly want for them.

Last Tuesday in my Bible Study we were studying fear and how we are not to fear because God is with us.  Once again we began to discuss this very thing.  Fear is the opposite of trusting God. And we can trust God with the little things in our lives as well as the most important things in all our lives - our children.  He made them. He numbered the hairs on their heads. He already knows the plans for them (Jeremiah 29:11) We are kidding ourselves if we truly think we are "in control" here.

I'm not saying to just be reckless and tell your kids to go and play in the highway because "God is in control" or to not try to do everything you can to protect them and keep them safe. But I think at some point we just have to "Let go and Let God" and pray that God uses them.

I have a stubborn streak and when God wants me to learn something .....He often has to really hit me over the head with it. I'm not a patient person so God had to teach me the lesson the hard way by having me wait for a husband AND for a child.  Clearly I wasn't going to learn trusting on His timing with just one area. So two discussions were not going to be enough for me to realize God is trying to teach me to change my prayers and my focus for the girls.

When I was at Dot Mom this weekend, Jen Hatmaker got up and said God had just given her this message to share with all the moms in the room to "relax".  And then she proceeded to say almost WORD for WORD what I have said here above.  I'm not the smartest girl in the world but I had to raise the white flag and say "Okay God - I get it".

She shared with us that being conformed in the image of Christ is NOT easy.  As parents - we are to raise up disciples. What a concept, huh? Our biggest job is not making sure our children are the smartest or the sweetest - but that they are following Christ.

Something she said that really struck me was this:
"Don't be the reason your kids choose comfort and safety".  I don't want Harper and Hollis to decide to take a desk job rather than following a calling to Africa to work as a missionary because I have instilled fear into them.  Raise BRAVE kids.  I don't want Harper and Hollis to remain silent in high school because they are scared to share their faith.  Or because they think their mother will be a nervous wreck.

My prayers are changing. And it's hard. I DO want my girls to be safe and healthy.  But the safest place you can be is the center of God's will.  And that's exactly what I'm praying they will always be in.  Whether that's a teacher in Texas or a missionary in the Middle East.  My prayer is that they will be bold women for Jesus. That they will have a passion for Him. Period. No matter what path gets them there.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Papa Bear.....

It has been a tough week.
My sadness for the Turners (see last post) has been overwhelming.  Even though I don't know them I can only imagine she pain Julee must be feeling.
Also last Thursday my grandpa went to be the Lord.  My grandma died two and a half years ago and he has never quite recovered.  They were married for 65 years and he just didn't know what to do with out her.  My aunt and the rest of the family have been taking care of him the best she/we could but he is in a much happier place.  He is with his Lord and Savior, the love of his life, and his body is healed!
So I am so so sad to lose him and but am rejoicing for how happy he must be! 
Here is a little something my Aunt wrote about my grandpa, details him so perfectly:

My dad passed away on Thursday night.  I had the privilege of living down the street from him for the past 12 years – and closely shared in his life the past 2 ½ years since my mom passed away.  I am so thankful for those years. 

For those who never met him, I’d like to share a bit of who he was.  Dad was born to Irish immigrants, Katie and Neal, who both grew up in one-room stone cottages with dirt floors on the often harsh coast of Northern Ireland. Neither of them attended school after they were 16.  My dad always had a strong sense of patriotism to this country that allowed his parents to move to Chicago, find good jobs, own a home, go back to Ireland occasionally, and send their children to college.  In high school, dad was captain of the Calumet High School football team in Chicago and editor of the school paper.  He never stopped loving sports or writing.  Dad served as an officer in the Navy, (playing football for a short time at Notre Dame while he was in Officers Training) and after his service in the Pacific and in Navy intelligence after the war, attended Northwestern University where he received his bachelors and masters degrees in hospital administration.  In 1958, he opened a hospital in Chicago where he served as Administrator until his retirement.  For 15 years after retirement, he served as President and Chairman of a Foundation that awarded scholarships and grants to those in volunteer service and ministry.

He had a wonderful Irish sense of humor, was remarkably generous, and dedicated to his family and community.  But what defined him most was his faith. God’s presence was the core reality of his life.  And the presence of God within each person he met and the responsibility that this fact put on him, to reach out to others in whatever ways he could, was the guiding principle of his life.  He lived a life with intention and integrity.

In the last two years, as I saw much of my dad’s exterior drive and competence dwindle, I was touched to see the core of compassion and service that were at his heart.  He lived 90 full years and his body was worn out, so I wouldn’t have wanted to hold him here one day longer.  But our whole family will miss his presence in our lives.

I Remember:
Sunday Dinners
how much he loved popcorn
how he used to salt his pizza
how he like this terrible licorice candy
his silly Johnny and Debbie stories
sleepovers at his and grandma's
his awesome back scratches
how supportive and encouraging he was to me
what a spiritual role model he was
always reading his bible
the joy his great grandchildren brought him
his funny sense of humor
How much he Loved!

Today we head up to MN to say goodbye.  Even though it will be a tough weekend I am SO looking forward to seeing my awesome family.

I dug up some of my favorite pics of Papa Bear from the last few years, even a couple pre-digital era. :)
Papa Bear and GG on our wedding day!
Grandpa giving our blessing prayer.
In Vince and my first apartment.

At my college graduation.
 Graduation from college
Telling Papa Bear and GG that we were expecting their first Great Grandchild!
 Time at camp

 Meeting and holding his first grandchild, Bella!

 Christmas at our place.
 Celebrating Conor's wedding

Cousin Jesse's wedding
Holding his second Great Grandchild, Brynn, for the first time

 Visit up to MN.
 Papa Bear, Bella, and Poppi doing Papa Bear's exercises.

The day we lost GG.
The whole family together to celebrate GG.
All Papa Bear's grandkids and maybe a sneaky little great-grandchild.
Laurin wasn't born yet but here is 3 of 4 of his Great grandchildren.

Our last Thanksgiving and visit to MN with Papa Bear.
At his favorite eatery, Culvers!
First time meeting his Great grandchild, Brooklyn.

We love you and will miss you always.  Till we meet again!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blog Day Of Silence...

Today is a Blog Day of Silence.

Please pray for Julee Turner.
I don't know her personally but have been following her road with infertility on her blog.  After trying for children for so long, they finally received their miracle baby, Preslee,  Well a few days ago her husband was killed in a car accident.  I'm just devastated for her.
Today her friends and other blog friends are having a blog day of silence (wrote this last night) to remember Matt and pray for Julee during the funeral.
If you're interested in helping the Turners on visit Jenna's blog with many ways to give back.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:18

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Need a laugh?

So I caught a couple funny things on my phone I wanted to share.
These girls bring me such joy and laughter (most of the time ;) )!

So I was out shopping the other day with Brynn and Brooklyn.  We were walking through Macy's and every time I turned around this little cutie was posing with the mannequins.  It was hilarious! :)
also wanted to wear her daddy's belt that day.  I'm telling you, too cute!

 Our stupid freezer is totally broken.  About one a month now it completely freezes up and my poor hubby has to go in and thaw it all out so the fan will keep running.  We totally need a new one but don't want to pay for one.  Looks like our Christmas presents to each other will be a lovely refrigerator. :(

Anyway the hub's was doing one of his monthly thaw outs and a little someone just wanted to be close. She's usually a momma's girl (I finally got one!!) but lately things seem to be changing (NO!) and she loves being with her daddy.

Don't want to leave this cutie out.  This year she is on the Pink Popstars (couldn't be more perfect of a name for her soccer team :) ).  Her game the other day she scored FIVE goals!!  She may be the tiniest on her team but she is one tough cookie!!

Hopefully these brought a smile to your face, like they did mine! :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Brynn's Turn!!

So the week after labor day it was Brynnie's turn to start school!!

Brynn was a little apprehensive about heading back but seemed excited about everything at Back to School night.
Then the big day was here!
She was excited to have her backpack packed and ready and get to take her first day pics like her big sis.

A couple of Brynn's besties.
So fun that Abby is in her class!!  Her mommy and I used to teach together!!
With all the girls in her class (just missing Elle)!  There are also 5 boys.
She didn't want me to leave but Ms. Denise came right up and Brynn was happy to go off with her thankfully.
She had a great first day and I'm so proud of her.
She now goes right in and is so anxious to tell me about her day when she comes home.
So thankful for such a wonderful preschool!

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    I used to be an elementary teacher but am now a stay-at-home mommy with three sweet baby girls. Bella is 6, Brynn is 4, and Brooklyn is 1. We also have a sweet Golden Retriever named Beckham. I have been married to the love of my life, Vincent, for almost 12 years. Although I hate the cold I am a Chicago girl through and through. And thats about all I've got!

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